U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is joining another Republican from the Sunshine State in warning about Chinese attempts to undermine elections in Taiwan.
This week, Rubio, who sits on the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, joined Republican U.S. Sens. Cory Gardner of Colorado and Ted Cruz of Texas and Democrat U.S. Sens. Michael Bennet of Colorado, Chris Coons of Delaware and Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada to write U.S. Sec. of State Mike Pompeo and other members of the Trump administration about the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) role in Taiwanese elections.
“We write with concern about allegations that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) interfered in Taiwan’s recent elections. CCP attempts to erode democratic processes and norms around the world threaten U.S. partnerships and prosperity. Allegations such as those surrounding Taiwan’s recent elections must therefore be pursued with seriousness and urgency. We appreciate the actions your departments are already taking to address CCP foreign interference. We encourage you to work closely with Taiwan authorities to thoroughly investigate these allegations and, if necessary, take swift action to deter future CCP interference in elections in Taiwan or elsewhere across the globe,” the senators wrote.
“In the lead-up to Taiwan’s local elections on November 24, 2018, Taiwan authorities and independent observers alleged that the CCP used illegal funds and disinformation to influence the election results in favor of the CCP’s strategic interests. It is not our intent, nor our role, to question the veracity or fairness of the electoral outcome. Rather, in an era of growing authoritarian interference, we believe such allegations must be taken seriously if free societies are to continue to thrive. If true, CCP interference in Taiwan’s elections would be deeply concerning not only for Taiwan’s future, but also for fellow democracies around the world where the CCP may choose to interfere,” they added.
“We write to express our support for efforts to counter interference of this nature and to state unequivocally that we stand shoulder to shoulder with democracies fighting attempts to undermine their sovereignty and freedom. We encourage your departments to do all you can to support Taiwan in investigating these allegations and taking necessary action in response,” they concluded.
Rubio is not the only Florida Republican worried about Chinese interference in Taiwan’s elections. Last month, U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., currently the chairman of the U.S. House Asia and the Pacific Subcommittee and a contender to lead Republicans on the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee in the new Congress, warned that China could be interfering in Taiwan‘s elections.
“I’m concerned by the widespread allegations that Beijing attempted to interfere in Taiwan’s local elections this weekend,” Yoho said at the end of last month. “The Chinese Communist Party’s reprehensible campaign to marginalize Taiwan is no secret. Taiwan’s vibrant democracy and upstanding international conduct are qualities the Communist Party should aspire to, rather than undermine.
“The U.S.-Taiwan partnership remains unwavering,” Yoho added. “I continue to encourage the administration to demonstrate this commitment by fully implementing the Taiwan Travel Act, beginning with a cabinet-level visit to Taiwan as soon as possible.”